Perhaps the greatest, and also least helpful of Ackerman memes. How many tens of thousands of envelopes have passed through the U.S. Postal service with the innocent inscription “This will explain…” scrawled on the back… only to be followed by a folded mailing in which nothing was so straightforward, clear, or comprehensible?
Ackerman was fully capable of sending you a bag of old Circus Peanuts marked “This will explain…” Or the latest issue of “The Waverly Flea”* or “Moonhead News,” circular-sized gibberish magazines without equal.
To the Ackerman newbie, this might generate a second of confusion; to the Ackerman old hand, the relentlessness of “This will explain…” becomes a sort of madness, ever growing in intensity as they arrived year after year. Of course, one doesn’t have to add, this all goes to Ackerman’s life project: a panoramic, speculative, pessimistic, far-fetched critique of both sanity and its demon twin, insanity. Kind of crazy, eh?
* A quick funny story about “The Waverly Flea” (long-running Ackerman gibberish newsletter from the 00′s). I had the idea for a long-running newsletter to be called “The Waverly Flea” that was to be circulated only in Waverly, the neighborhood of Normals Books and Records, and to some extent, a neighborhood where I grew up. Now, Waverly is a “transitional” neighborhood where impacted poverty and crime are abutted to cheap real estate Bohemia homesteading, and at least during the period of the housing boom, there was a lot of focus on getting real estate values up. A good place to survive in some inexpensive rental for decades while worrying about the coming class war, to try to flip a property and “reclaim” the neighborhood, or to crash after getting out on parole.
During this time, I got the crackpot idea that it would be fun to write a newletter that was just about flea infestations, with a straight-faced but highly paranoid tone, and to post a few copies around on community bulletin boards, etc.I imagined the horror of homesteaders reading this official-looking screed and getting the sense they were at Flea ground zero, or at least that a maniac was at loose in the neighborhood, obsessed with flea populations.
I casually told Ackerman about this idea and it made him laugh
BEFORE I COULD EVEN WRITE ONE ISSUE of the Waverly Flea, a week later, I came into Normals and there it was, The Waverly Flea Issue 80, tacked to the Normals Bulliten Board that was Ackerman’s local media of exposition. My concept hadn’t be realized, just the name grabbed, but the contents were hilarious and disturbing in the best Ackerman emotionally-charged-gibberish-newsletter style. Many more issues came after, and I sullenly gave up my porject, The Waverly Flea.
This will explain… The Waverly Flea!